Inspiring and taking a fresh perspective were top of the agenda at the Meetings Industry Association’s (mia) first miaSummit last week.

Opening the event with a virtual welcome address, Tourism Minister Sir John Whittingdale congratulated the mia for its ongoing counsel to government. He particularly praised the association’s quarterly mia Insights, which offer crucial updates and provide a true reflection of both the challenges and opportunities currently being faced by the sector.

Sir John encouraged the sector to keep responding to the mia’s insight requests as he said they provide “vital intelligence – demonstrating the continued value of the sector and its ongoing contribution to the UK economy”.

He explained that the government is guided by the Tourism Recovery Plan, and they now have an ambition to move from a state of recovery to one of sustainable growth, so that all regions of the UK feel the benefits of a dynamic and thriving visitor economy.

He added: “The business events sector has a central role to play in this, and the government is keen to do all it can to help make the case for the many fantastic venues for business meetings and events across the UK.”

Sir John also acknowledged the many challenges that business meetings and events have confronted since the pandemic. However, he said time and again the government has seen the business meetings and events industry adapt to ensure it can keep up with the ever-changing demands and expectations and to work in partnership to drive the UK’s continued growth.

As well as exploring the current economic state of the industry, the forthcoming Martyn’s Law and the journey to net zero, the carefully curated programme examined the importance of having an entrepreneurial mindset. Speaker Julia Langkraehr shared how time is imperative to allow you to see your business differently and to innovate, while she suggested delegates adopt a growth mindset and surround themselves with people who can build something from nothing.

Other topics that went under the microscope included a panel discussion on ‘Menopause in the workplace’ led by M&IT’s Holly Patrick and a lively session with Anthony Stears who demonstrated why the sector needs to stop hiding behind emails, to further improve its customer service.

A fascinating session on ‘Intergenerational diversity and the power of a tribe’ led by Henry Rose Lee revealed how young talent have unique work communications. The key expectations of job seekers were outlined and the tactics that will help delegates hire and engage talent of any age today.

Caroline Dawson, EMEA director of sales at iVvy, said: “Last Friday I was absolutely delighted to spend the day networking with industry friends and meeting lots of new colleagues at the Meetings Industry Association’s miaSummit. It was a fantastic event, filled with really inspiring content and conversations. A huge thank you to Michael Jackson our fabulous moderator and all of the mia team for another fantastic conference.”

The mia’s chief executive, Kerrin MacPhie, said: “We set out to challenge industry perspectives, and we think our inaugural miaSummit absolutely delivered on that. Our line-up of speakers really made delegates stop and think about their current ways of working and the post-event executive report, which will be shared with all attendees, will make it even easier to make tangible changes back in their own organisations. It was a fantastic event, and we are very grateful to all of our speakers, partners and supporters who made it possible.”

The miaSummit took place at London’s Park Plaza Victoria on 6 October ahead of the miaList awards dinner.